[ by Charles Cameron — in which we glimpse the (female) divinity hidden behind infinity ]
It is one of the curiosities of mathematics that the great Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan claimed to have received many, if not all, of his equations from the goddess Namagiri in dreams — and that this idea is all too often quietly omitted from discussions of his uncanny brilliance.
Now that The Man Who Knew Infinity is out in theaters, it might be wise to explore the connection between Namagiri and Ramanujan a little more closely.
Dream and waking, darshan and mathematics, inspiration and intuition, intuition and proof, quality and quantity — these polarities are all involved..
To its credit, the film contains the line:
You want to know how I get my ideas? God speaks to me.
However, the idea that “God” might be a goddess seems a reach too far for the screenwriters and director.
Matt Brown, The Man Who Knew Infinity
Here’s one version of the trailer:
Stephen Wolfram posted a fine article on his blog last week, Who Was Ramanujan?. He was willing to mention that Ramanujan’s friend and collaborator, GH Hardy, “could be very nerdy — whether about cricket scores, proving the non-existence of God, or writing down rules for his collaboration with Littlewood” — but fails in 31 pages to mention Ramanujan’s own belief that he received his equations from a goddess.
All of which caused me to pose a question to Wolfram’s own algorithmic genie, Wolfram Alpha:
Did Namagiri reveal equations to Ramanujan?
WolframAlpha skipped the words “Did Namagiri reveal” and “to” and concentrated on responding to “equations” and “Ramanujan” — not quite up to par with AlphaGo, I’m afraid, let alone Ramanujan himself, or better, Namagiri.
Below’s the DoubleQuote I made to by way of comment — note that I’ve only had space for the first line of WolframApha’s extended response:
Stephen Wolfram, Who Was Ramanujan? Hinduism Today, Computing the Mathematical Face of God Huffington Post, Ramanujan’s Mock Modular Forms The Hindu, American mathematicians solve Ramanujan’s “deathbed” puzzle Sadhguru, Doorway to the Beyond Paul Chika Emekwulu, Mathematical Encounters: For the inquisitive mind The Hindu, The Man Who Knew Infinity: A misunderstood mind